Senior councillors consider new major council housing pipeline

Published Tuesday, 10th September 2019

Front of new houses

Bold plans to invest in a future pipeline of council housing in Southend will be considered by senior councillors next week.

On 17 September, members of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s cabinet will consider a report by officers updating how they are spending a budget of £4.3m on housing properties in the town.

Since June, when cabinet gave the go-ahead to new acquisitions, the Council has already purchased three properties, with a further 13 under offer and with solicitors.

The report also outlines the approach being taken to future development opportunities. Councillors will be asked to agree to set aside an initial £645,000 to survey and assess the feasibility of a number of sites within the borough that have the potential to be developed in future to provide housing and other community amenities.

Among opportunities being considered are proposals for the council to enter into a deal with the potential future developers of Roots Hall, Citizen Housing Ltd. Under the outline deal, Citizen Housing Ltd would be responsible for building the development and the Council take a lease of it then manage it and collect rents. At the end of the lease term, the full value of the development and all future income would transfer to the Council for £1.

Although still tentative and requiring planning consent, the proposed development at Roots Hall would comprise around 500 new homes for rent including 170 units of Affordable Housing.

Another key proposal brought forward in the report is to build 24 flats on Ilfracombe Avenue and use revenue from the development to carry out the much needed refurbishment of Southchurch Library.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Gilbert, said: “We are not prepared to stand still while local people struggle to afford a decent home for their families.

“That’s why, as part of our joint administration agreement, we promised to provide new social housing and key worker housing as a priority. I am delighted that, just a few weeks later we have already bought three properties, have a further 13 under offer and are already in a position to consider rigorous proposals towards delivering that very important promise. I am also pleased to announce that we have already identified families in temporary accommodation who will be in a position to move into their new homes before Christmas.

“Southend is among the least affordable places to live in the UK when you consider the average local wage against the average property rental price. At the same time, the demand for truly affordable housing continues to exponentially outstrip supply.

“The report we will be considering shows that we are taking bold action to improve the opportunities and prosperity of all our residents, enabling them to continue to live fruitful and fulfilling lives within their home town.”

The Council as a developer

The report being considered by Cabinet also outlines key achievements by the Council’s development company, PSP Southend LLP, which was established in late 2011 and recommends its continuation – albeit with a new name and remit – beyond its current contract expiry date of 2021.

To date, the LLP has delivered:

  • 32 Units of market housing at the former Hinguar Primary School
  • the 9 units of affordable housing required for Hinguar plus a further 6 units on the site of the former Saxon Lodge.  All 15 of these were sold to Moat Housing Association.
  • a new nursery on Constable Way
  • the demolition and site preparation of Friars Community Centre, Library and the Pupil Referral Unit in preparation for development
  • an updated planning permission has just been issued for the construction of 9 houses for market sale on the site (to cross-finance the nursery) and Tern Developments is mobilising for construction to commence imminently

A number of sites within the Pipeline are currently underway and this section sets out those sites which are approved to proceed and which are now in the delivery phase.

Site

Number of Units

Delivery Vehicle

Progress comment

Estimated completion

Friars, Constable Way

Nursery plus 9 houses

PSP Southend LLP

Nursery completed.

Housing due to start on site during September.

Q4 2020.

Ilfracombe Avenue Car Park

24 flats

PSP Southend LLP

A detailed proposal is ready to be signed off by the LLP Partnership Board to enable a planning application to be worked up for submission.

Q4 2021

Modern Methods of Construction  (MMC) Pilot Project

4-5 Units

Strategic Housing

Employers Agent (EA) & Architect have been appointed. Site investigation has been carried out. Outline planning permission anticipated by end of the year.

2021/22 Q1

HRA Phase 3

25 Units

Strategic Housing

Site investigation has been carried out. EA to be appointed by September 2019.

2021/22 Q3

HRA Phase 4

20-31 Units

Strategic Housing

Site investigation has been carried out. EA to be appointed by September 2019.

21/22 Q4

HRA Phase 5 & 6

Tbc

Strategic Housing

Funding agreed for feasibility work to determine phases 5 & 6

tbc